This giant man was a familiar landmark in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. He stood on top the muffler shop at 3940 West Grand Avenue. According to Rick Kogan’s Sidewalks II book, he was named Mr. Bendo, after the onetime owner of the business. The plastic Bendo was supposed to closely resemble the flesh Bendo.
Sometime around 2010, a storm knocked off the top of the big Bendo. The truncated base was left standing while the muffler shop proprietors decided what to do next. I snapped the photo below around that time, recalling Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias” and the line “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert . . . ”
The rest of Mr. Bendo has since been removed, and Chicago’s landscape is poorer for the loss. However, I’m happy to report that the giant man on the northwest corner of 63rd and Pulaski still survives. There used to be a tobacconist on the premises, and this statue was an oversize version of that old perennial, the Cigar Store Indian. Today the cigar store is gone, so now he sports a pair of specs, promoting the eye clinic in the building.
These giant men always remind me of a miniature golf course. Of course, they are big enough to decorate a regulation-size golf course. Perhaps we should stick a giant Arnold Palmer along the right side of the eighth fairway at Waveland (Sydney Marovitz). Besides putting a smile on a golfer’s face, a giant Arnie could also be a barrier to stop sliced tee shots from bouncing onto Lake Shore Drive.